January 20, 2006
MIDDLETOWN, CT – The 12th-ranked Amherst College men's basketball team picked up its first conference win of the season and locked up a share of the Little Three crown, defeating NESCAC host Wesleyan University on Friday night, 74-49. Senior co-captain John Casnocha (San Francisco, CA) led a balanced Amherst scoring attack with 15 points, seven boards and a trio of assists as they improved to 12-2 overall and 1-1 in NESCAC play.
Wesleyan clung to a slim advantage out of the gates, but a trifecta by junior Dan Wheeler (Bloomington, MN) gave the Jeffs a 9-7 edge and they would never look back. Amherst's lead slowly grew as they chipped away at the scoring column and put the clamps on the Cardinals, holding them to just nine points in the first 7:27 of play. Casnocha stretched the count to 26-14 with another three-ball just inside the seven-minute mark, and the Jeffs went into the locker room with a 34-19 lead.
The Jeffs' successes continued in the second half as their 15-point halftime edge was as close as Wesleyan would get throughout regulation. Wheeler finished with 11 points, while sophomore reserve Brandon Jones (Hopatcong, NJ) shattered collegiate bests with eight points, seven rebounds and three rejections. Fellow sophomore Matt Goldsmith (Morristown, NJ) had an excellent night on the glass, collecting a team-high nine caroms.
Wesleyan sophomore Nick Pelletier (Amherst, NH) led the Cardinals with 18 points and six boards, while classmate Sean Collins (Old Lyme, CT) added 13 points and five rebounds as they fell to 6-9 overall and remain winless in NESCAC play at 0-3.
Amherst returns to action tomorrow (Saturday) at 3 p.m. at NESCAC foe Connecticut College.